Injuries have wreaked havoc on the 49ers season, and they've been the defining theme of the 2020 Fantasy football season, and it looks like both will continue to be the case moving forward. We learned Monday that San Francisco could be without Jimmy Garoppolo for at least six weeks and possibly longer with an ankle injury, while George Kittle could miss the remainder of the season with a fracture in his foot. Injuries have left the 49ers without their starting quarterback and tight end, their top wide receiver (Deebo Samuel) and three of their top four running backs (Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson and Tevin Coleman) for at least the next few weeks, along with the likes of Dee Ford, Solomon Thomas, Ezekiel Ansah, Richard Sherman and Nick Bosa on defense.
Kittle's injury leaves the 49ers offense in absolute disarray, and also leaves Fantasy players without arguably the best tight end option. Losing Garoppolo will hurt San Francisco, but we've seen Nick Mullens do a reasonable impersonation of him in the past. However, with so many injuries all around him, it seems likely this 49ers offense is going to take a step back now. That's a bad sign for JaMycal Hasty, Jerick McKinnon, Brandon Aiyuk and the remaining healthy options there, because you can expect fewer scoring opportunities in what might be one of the league's worst offenses moving forward -- the 49ers already rank just 15th in per-game scoring.
However, Hasty remains a good waiver-wire target for Week 9 and beyond, given his expected role as the likely lead back, while McKinnon will likely remain a fringe starter with his role in the passing game. Aiyuk, meanwhile, should be a viable starter moving forward since he should be the No. 1 option as long as Samuel's hamstring injury keeps him out. The absence of Kittle could also leave Aiyuk with a significant role in the passing game even when Samuel returns. His potential for a star turn in the second half is a bit diminished with the change at quarterback, but the opportunity is certainly still there. The thing that should help both Aiyuk and Samuel is that Kyle Shanahan's offense does a great job of getting them in situations where they can make plays with the ball in space, and both excel in that facet of the game.
If you're looking for a replacement for Kittle, well … it's tight end, so don't get your hopes up. The position isn't exactly overflowing with guys you can rely on, especially to the level Kittle produces at. However, there are a few options to consider, both via trade and on the waiver wire who could help you patch things up.
First up, you'll want to see if whoever has Mark Andrews in your league is starting to sweat. Andrews has been a significant disappointment, ranking seventh in PPR scoring at tight end despite five touchdowns in seven games. In the four games where he has failed to find the end zone, Andrews has just 104 yards on nine catches, so he's essentially been a touchdown-or-bust option. However, the Ravens offense will have better days ahead, and that should include better production from Andrews, who has a career-low catch rate and yards per target. Both should regress positively moving forward, making him a viable buy-low target if you can swing a deal.
Otherwise, you'll want to look for Dallas Goedert (68% rostered) on waivers first. He played nearly a full snap share and ran routes on all but four of Carson Wentz's drop backs Sunday, so don't be too concerned that he had just one target against the Cowboys. You'll have to be patient with the Eagles' Week 9 bye, but Goedert could be the closest thing to Kittle you're going to find.
If Goedert isn't available -- and make sure to check after waivers run early Wednesday morning, because he could be dropped -- you're left picking from touchdown-or-bust options or otherwise second-half breakout candidates. Jordan Reed could be the latter if he comes off IR this week replacing Kittle in the 49ers offense, and I also like targeting The Washington Football Team's Logan Thomas, who is one of the best athletes at the position and scored in consecutive games with 102 yards combined in the last two outings before his bye. He has matchups against the Giants, Lions and Bengals coming up, and could be a star in the second half.
Otherwise, you'll be trying to play the matchups among the Eric Ebron, Austin Hooper, Trey Burton and Darren Fells/Jordan Akins of the world, which never feels great. Hooper might be the best option once his Week 9 bye is done, but if you're looking for immediate help, Ebron should be your top target when waivers run this week.